Breaking News
More () »

Baby from San Diego's first televised C-section from 1953 lived a 'good life'

CBS 8 shows archive footage of cesarean birth to 69-year-old Earl Wentworth for first time.

RAMONA, Calif. — CBS 8 was San Diego's first television station which meant our cameras often captured San Diego County history in the making. On October 21, 1953, CBS 8 televised the first cesarean birth in San Diego history. In this Zevely Zone, I tracked down the special baby born that day. Cesarean births these days are quite common in the United States, by some estimates more than one million babies a year are born by C-section a year, but back in 1953, Earl Wentworth's birth was big news.  

Credit: CBS 8

We went to Earl's house at San Diego Country Estates with archive footage that had not not seen the light of day in decades. "I have never seen the footage ever. This is cool," said Earl who is now 69 years old.  

Credit: CBS 8

Back in 1953, doctors recommended Earl's mother, Mary, have a C-section to ensure a safe birth. "Well, I think because I was going to be a large baby and she was only about 5 feet," said Earl. CBS 8 was San Diego's first television station and we were ready for the big moment. Before we showed the footage to Earl, I asked him if he was ready to show the world video of himself as a baby in all of his glory? "I am an open book," he laughed.  The doctors were right. Earl was a big baby. He weighed more than nine pounds. The footage shows doctors make an incision and then pull Earl from his mother. "They got to get my good side you know?" laughed Earl.

Credit: CBS 8

Most of the footage is silent except for one portion where we can hear Earl crying for the first time. "Wow that's amazing," said Earl. For years following Earl's birth, CBS 8 even showed up to celebrate Earl's birthday. We showed Earl footage of those old birthday parties as well. "There I am, that is my first birthday I guess," said Earl sitting next to his mother Mary and his father Earl Sr.

Credit: CBS 8

He grew up as a small celebrity in San Diego County because CBS 8 continued to interview him throughout his childhood. "They would come out to my house every year or every other year until I was about 12 years old," said Earl. We had not visited Earl in more than 50 years. "That is right. It's kind of nice to have you. I appreciate it," said Earl.  

Credit: CBS 8

I then shook the hand of someone who was quite literally 'born to serve'. Earl served for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for more than 34 years and retired as the Assistant Sheriff. "That's right. I was a lucky guy," said Earl. "I worked with a lot of fantastic men and women throughout my career. I really thought this was like the best dream ever. I had a career that I can look back on and say wow, I had fun."

Earl married Carol who is the love of his life. They've been married for 45 years and raised three children who were all delivered by C-section. I asked Earl what receiving a copy of the footage would mean to his family. "Oh, my kids are dying to see it. They are really looking forward to it," said Earl. "This is family history. It's just special."

RELATED: No sleep for 12 days! Roger Guy English revisits his 1974 world record

Earl showed us pictures of his childhood. He is smiling in every picture. "I had a good life. It's been good," said Earl. "I told my friends I'm bullet proof."

RELATED: Lost Gregory Peck footage brought back to life

69 years later, I guess now, we can all say we've known Earl Wentworth since the day he was born. "As they say, here's Johnny," laughed Earl. "I had that cranky look then too.

The archive footage is extra special for Earl because his mother died from Leukemia in 1967 when he was 13 years old. His father died in 2001. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out